“I loved ‘The Scent of Rain’.”

“The characters in ‘The Scent of Rain’  added to an already amazing storyline. The various points of view give us a wide perspective of what is going on the FDLS community.”                                                                                                                                      The Book Return

https://thebookreturn.com/2018/01/26/scent-rain-anne-montgomery/

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Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.

Pay attention to what’s going on around you

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I was very fortunate to have attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio as an undergrad. My professors at Miami, one of the oldest public universities in the country, chartered in 1809, taught me to question the world around me and gave me the opportunity to explore new cultures when I attended the school’s branch campus in Luxembourg.  So, I feel honored that I was asked about my thoughts on teaching in the new edition of the school’s magazine, The Miamian.

https://www.miamialum.org/s/916/16/interior.aspx?sid=916&gid=1&pgid=13326&cid

 

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Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.

Two steps forward, one step back

Recently, I wrote an article about my road to becoming a sportscaster, which began when I was in high school in 1972. I got my first job in front of the camera in 1983 at WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia, which and led to positions at WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut where I anchored SportsCenter. I finished my on‐camera broadcasting career with a two‐year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

Flash forward to 2018. Women sportscasters are certainly more prevalent than in those nascent days. But while the number of women working in TV sports has risen exponentially, the acceptance rate has, perhaps, remained little changed.

When the NFL gave Beth Mowins the opportunity to call a game on Monday Night Football this season, there was certainly rejoicing that another glass ceiling had shattered. That is, until the negative comments commenced.

Two steps forward, one step back.

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Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.

All along the way, people shook their heads and explained that a woman could not be a sportscaster

 

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I was a sportscaster back when women in the field were extremely rare. The long road that took me there began in high school.

“This is your local sports announcer!” says the last line of the caption over my picture in my high school year book.

It was 1973. A time when there were virtually no women sportscasters, save those like Peggy Fleming, who appeared once every four years to comment on Olympic figure skating, and a few women picked not for their journalistic skills or sports knowledge, but primarily for their beauty.

Early in my senior year, my mother faced me across the kitchen table. “What do you want to be?” She peered through cat-eye glasses. “It’s time to find a college.”

I had already longed to be a competitive ice skater – too big and too awkward – and a Broadway actress – mediocre singing voice and limited dancing skills.

“Well?”

I knew I liked an audience, but beyond that, I hadn’t a clue.

The question of my future continued to loom. I was not a highly adept student, having met brick walls in the forms of algebra, chemistry, and French. My class ranking showed I was absolutely “average”, and had it not been for music and drama and speech classes, I, no doubt, would have found myself buried much deeper on the academic depth chart.

Even back in my tender teen years, I realized one should ascertain what they’re interested in and what they’re good at when pondering a career. I adored ice hockey, enjoyed football, and though I didn’t quite understand the curious rules of baseball until I mastered the art of keeping a box score, I would later learn to love the iconic American sport. I held a position on my school’s broadcast crew, a rather rag-tag group of students who did the morning announcements each day. My voice was a natural Alto II and, after years of performing in play productions, my speech was clear, my pronunciation crisp. I also served as statistician on the varsity hockey team. As a member of the squad – don’t scoff, I actually received a varsity letter for my efforts – I often found myself in possession of announcements sent in by the coach.

One morning, I sorted through the requests, and, for reasons I can’t quite explain, I selected all of the sports announcements. I began reading out loud, practicing for the broadcast.

“Girls aren’t sportscasters,” one crew member informed me.

“Why not?”

“They just aren’t.” He took the announcements from me.

The next day, I grabbed the sports notices again, and this time two of the boys insisted I had no right to read them. At that moment, the drama teacher, who was the head of the broadcast crew, came into the booth to see what we were arguing about.

“Of course she can read the sports,” he said, rolling his eyes before he walked out the door.

High School Year Book Pic

In 1973, the question of a woman being a sportscaster was preposterous. Still, as my yearbook caption attests, that was my goal.

Later, not happy with my new title of in-house sportscaster, the boys on the crew decided I needed opening music and a nickname. So, every morning, before I went on, the theme from Mission Impossible blared through the classrooms and hallways of my school.

“Dant-dant-dan-dah  dant-dant-dan-dah …  And now, Big Anne with the sports!”

Though I realized the point was to embarrass me, I enjoyed the music and even the sobriquet. Soon, people began to seek me out, athletes and coaches asking if I would read their announcements.

When my mother again cornered me, asking about my future plans, I smiled. “I want to be a sportscaster!”

She stared. “I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you.”

“I want to be a sportscaster.”

She walked away.

In retrospect, I can’t say the whole sportscaster-trek was easy. All along the way, people shook their heads and explained that a woman could not be a sportscaster. Though I was a sports reporter in college, the football, baseball and basketball coaches refused to be interviewed by me and my professors cautioned that my goal was unrealistic. I became a certified amateur sports official in football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball in the hope that someone somewhere would believe I understood sports well enough to sit behind a microphone. I diligently read the sports pages everyday and Sports Illustrated weekly cover-to-cover. Still, I  was 28 before I got my first TV job, which led to four more stations where I reported and anchored sports at both the local and national levels, including a stint at ESPN where I anchored SportsCenter.

I used to wonder if  I would have aspired to sportscasting had I’d known I would “age out”, an unfortunate consequence of being a woman who plies her trade in front of a camera. The answer is, yes! Of course! I wouldn’t have missed those fascinating years for anything. And I’m sometimes reminded when I face my high school students that, had I not been a reporter, I would not be teaching them journalism today.

In hindsight, I would tell my teenage self that planning for the future is a tricky task, one filled with myriad opportunities and diverse, unexpected paths. Be open to new ideas. Don’t be afraid when life surprises you. The thrill is in the challenge.

 

Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.

“Rose stands … for all the girls and women who suffer oppression under this cruel system.”

My thanks to K.L. Allendoerfer for her review of my novel The Scent of Rain.

https://klallendoerfer.wordpress.com/2018/01/13/book-review-the-scent-of-rain-by-anne-montgomery/

Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.

The girl in the mirror

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A preoccupation with beauty,  fueled by 24/7 internet postings, has many young women obsessed with their looks.

I’ve been working out in some form or another all my life. Though I used to be more of a gym rat, today I primarily swim laps, a habit that leaves me with goggle-eye indentations, smudged make-up, and wet hair spiking in all directions. Often, due to the insanely short life span of some of my Speedos, my suits tend to lack the elasticity required to hold my 62-year-old physique in place. I know what you’re thinking. Not a pretty picture.

But for the brief, big hair, sparkly spandex, workout era of the 80s, the health club has mostly been a place where pretty wasn’t important. Perhaps that’s why she had me so nonplussed.

The attractive young woman, probably in her early twenties, stared into her phone. Tight black shorts and a crop top encased her frame. She pursed her lips and lifted her chin. Then, looking over her shoulder at the mirror behind her, she snapped a series of selfies, shots aimed to highlight her, um, posterior.

I tried not to stare, but as I dried off after my shower and dressed, I couldn’t help but sneak a peek, now and then. The camera clicked away. She turned her hips a fraction of an inch and the snapping resumed.

I grew up in the world of Barbie, a perfectly proportioned piece of plastic that, no doubt, led to a generation of women with body-image issues. And while there were also magazine and TV beauties to contend with, our experience was relatively benign compared to the image assault young women must deal with today: a 24-hour stream of internet images highlighting impossibly beautiful, often photoshopped, people. Sadly, approximately 91% of women in the U.S. are unhappy with their bodies.

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Barbie’s perfect proportions created a generation of women with body-image issues.

I’m a high school teacher and I worry about the pressure that’s being placed on our young people. Those unhappy with their looks can suffer from low self-esteem, which can lead to eating disorders, early sexual activity, substance use, and suicidal thoughts.

I was approached by one of my journalism students recently. She was writing a story about body-image issues. “Ms. Montgomery, when do women finally become happy with their bodies?”

“Never,” I said, without thinking. Her face fell. “I mean, when you get older, other things become more important.” I scrambled to put a positive spin on my answer, but could see the damage was already done.

A week after I first saw her, the girl at the health club reappeared. This time, she faced a different mirror and, after lifting the edge of her shirt to reveal solid abs, she began taking pictures again. After myriad photos, she slumped onto a bench and scrolled through the images, all the while frowning into her phone.

As I gathered my things to leave, she walked in front of another large mirror and paused, staring at the floor, wanting, perhaps, to just pass it by. But something compelled her to stop and lean in close, turning her face one way then the other, as she batted long false eyelashes and tossed her hair.

Pretty can certainly be nice. In fact, studies have shown that, fair or not, attractive people are more likely to get hired, receive promotions, and have larger paychecks than those who might be lacking in the pulchritude department. However, as those pretty folks will eventually learn, physical beauty does not last.

“Ms. Montgomery, when do women finally become happy with their bodies?”

“It all depends,” I should have said to my student reporter. “Perhaps, when we focus on all the fabulous opportunities life throws at us, face our aspirations head on, and surround ourselves with people who love us and make us laugh, maybe then we stop worrying about things that are really not important.”

As I watched the girl wrench away from the mirror, I hoped she might have goals to dream about, hobbies she enjoyed, and people in her life who would love and cherish her, even on those bad-hair days. I wanted to tell her, but I did not. I think there are some things we just need to learn on our own.

 

Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Free-will and free-thinking are presented as powerful allies when all seems lost.” Book Reviews Anonymous

My thanks to Book Reviews Anonymous for reviewing my novel The Scent of Rain.

Scent of Rain, by Anne Montgomery

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Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.

Writers need to perfect the art in their posts if they want to sell their books

Going on Vacation The Scent of Rain

Authors tend to think in black and white. We are words-on-paper people who weave our worlds for readers in print. However, when sharing book posts on the Internet, we need to do better in regard to the art we use, myself included.

Think of how much time and effort you spend choosing cover art for your books, an often-laborious task that has us second-guessing our choices, even the moment after we hit the send button giving the final go ahead.

In the Huffington Post story, “Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Cover,” Smashwords founder Mark Coker said, “A book’s cover is the first thing a potential reader sees and it can make a lasting impression. Our brains are wired to process images faster than words. When we see an image, it makes us feel something. A great cover (can) help the reader instantly recognize that this book is for them.”

The same idea holds true for blog posts. The picture you share is what catches the reader’s eye, not your clever verbiage. So, if you post a fuzzy photo or one that looks amateurish, the chances of readers getting to the meat of your post lessen dramatically.

Authors should want to be perceived as professionals, even if they’re writing that novel in the wee hours after the kids are put to bed and before that ear-splitting alarm signals it’s time to head off to their day job. Shoddy artwork instantly symbolizes the blogger is an amateur.

“But I’m not a photographer,” I can hear you mumble.

No worries, because we live in the world of Google images. However, it’s extremely important that when you scan those images, looking for just the right fit for your post, you do a safe search. It’s simple. Just enter in the type of picture you’re looking for, then click on images. On the tool bar, you’ll see Settings. Click and scroll down to Advanced Search. At the bottom of the page you’ll see Usage Rights. Because you’re an author selling books, you’ll need to choose Free to Use or Share, Even Commercially. Then go back to your images. While the choices are significantly pared down, the images remaining are free to use, without the risk of running afoul of the art’s owner, an adventure that might include lawyers and lawsuits and a big hit to your wallet.

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When searching for images online, it’s imperative that you only use pictures that are marked Free to Use or Share, Even Commercially.

You must then size your art. Often, authors post art that’s too small, leading to those blurred pictures. And remember, different social media platforms require different sizes of art. What looks great on Twitter might be blurred Facebook. For an in-depth look at sizing for various social media platforms, check out https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-image-sizes/.

Before taking your own pictures to post, locate images you’d like to emulate online. Then read David Peterson’s “ Six Classic Design Elements for Outstanding Photographs”: http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/2679/six-classic-design-elements-for-outstanding-photographs/.

Note that it’s the little things that can ruin a picture. Take food photos, which are notoriously tough to shoot. Is the tablecloth the food rests on wrinkled? Is there an errant dab of catsup on the plate? Are there shadows covering those scrumptious cookies? “The Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography” might help: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/beginners-guide-to-food-photography.html.

 

For those of you who are, like me, a bit older, try not to be scared off by the technology. Over the course of your lives, you learned new things. You got better at them with practice. The same applies here.

If you peruse the websites of well-known, successful authors, you’ll see the art is first rate. You’ve labored vigorously to perfect your writing. It makes sense than, if you want people to find your books, you’ll do the same with those images you’re using to market your work.

Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.